Should You Get a Storage Unit in College?

By Kaitlin Hurtado on January 29, 2017

When moving out — whether it is your childhood home, the dorms, or an apartment near campus — there is always the struggle of figuring out what to bring to your next space and what to leave behind. Even with furniture, clothing, and other items that you deem as something you want or need in your current living space, you may not have enough room for them in the space you are currently living in or going to move into.

While one of the best solutions to the problem of storage space is renting a storage unit during college, it is best to thoroughly think out the decision with its pros and cons.

The Pros

A decluttered space. Dorms are notorious for being small and cramped and are even more so when you add multiple roommates into the tiny room. Your options for storage are usually limited to the assigned desk drawers and shelves, and a wardrobe unit. Sadly, this may not be enough room for most students as over-packing is common among first years in the dorms. While a quick solution to the small space is to simply pack less, it will only cause problems later on when you leave something back home thinking it was not needed when it actually was.

Most students spend eight months in the dorm, and in those eight months, the weather will change. The heavy jackets and cold weather accessories you had cast aside in the warmer months of the fall are crucial for surviving the weather that winter will bring. Storage units can act as your second closet, allowing you to have an extensive wardrobe that a dorm room alone could not provide.

The convenience. Depending on where you are going to college and how far it is from your home, getting a storage unit may be essential. If you are going to college out of state, the process of going back home for summer break is more troublesome than if you lived a few hours away. Rather than shipping or driving your belongings across the country, it will be less costly and more convenient to rent a storage unit to safely store your belongings when you temporarily move back home for break.

Likewise, the timing between apartment leases won’t always be perfect. Your current lease may end a week before your next, and you might have to find a temporary home on a friend’s couch. A storage unit is perfect for holding all your belongings until you can move into your next space.

The potential for saving money. It is less likely that you’ll stay in the same living space for the duration of your college career and more likely that you will be dealing with a variation in living space and in turn, storage space. As you move into new spaces, you may have to downsize. Instead of getting rid of the furniture and various belongings that don’t fit in your current living space, rent a storage unit to store them until you get a bigger space. Saving and reusing old furniture will save you the trouble of looking for new ones in the future and the money of buying new furniture.

The Cons

An extra cost. College budgets are known to be tight; you have to balance tuition, rent, insurance and other bills, groceries, etc. In America, the average cost of a 5-by-5 foot storage unit is $40-50 per month. For students, this could be the cost of a parking ticket, a month of utilities, or groceries.

Depending on the size and location of your storage unit, the cost may outweigh the convenience of renting a storage unit.

The possibility of hoarding. Your storage unit — and all its content — may be pushed into the back of your mind as your busy schedule takes over. Without having all of your belongings in your daily living space, it is easy to forget about the belongings hidden in your storage unit, causing you to purchase similar items with a blind eye.

Having extra space is a green light for some to bring more belongings into their living spaces, and put more into the storage unit to make room for the new purchases. Before you know it, you’ll end up with more items than you need without being aware of it as half of it is tucked into the storage unit.

The takeaway: Is money or convenience more important to you? 

While the extra space may seem enticing, seriously consider the cost of a storage unit and how it’ll factor into your budget. If you are hesitant to commit to a storage unit, ask your roommates if they are willing to chip in and share the unit with you to reduce the cost of a storage unit.

Consider renting out a storage unit for months at a time rather than year-round. If you only really need a storage unit for break when you are in between dorms/apartments, don’t spend more money on space you don’t necessarily need.

By Kaitlin Hurtado

Uloop Writer
Hello! I'm Kaitlin, a second year Literary Journalism major at UC Irvine. I'm a writer on Uloop's national team and a campus editor for UCI.

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